Streetcar stunner: Brookside dropped from new expansion plan

03/25/2014 10:42 AM

03/26/2014 10:35 AM

Give it up to the NIMBY crowd: The anti-streetcar Brooksiders won the first round.

In a stunning development,

the large Brookside area has been dropped from Kansas City’s streetcar expansion

plan.

An advisory committee on Tuesday agreed that homeowners and businesses in the affluent southwest corridor won’t be part of the transportation development district. Higher sales taxes and a higher assessment on selected properties in the district will help pay for expansion — if federal funds also are received for the project.

Here are the main takeaways from this development:

• If the City Council approves the proposal on Thursday, Brooksiders who have been vocal against bringing rail to their area will have won: Their neighborhoods will be carved out of the TDD.

This decision by Tuesday morning already was setting off a backlash among streetcar supporters in southwest Kansas City, who claim a small contingent of NIMBY people in Brookside had squashed the project there.

• Dumping Brookside could help City Hall politically when it comes to passing the higher taxes and assessments it wants to charge elsewhere to help pay for the streetcar plan.

In short, the active southwest corridor won’t be out campaigning in August against forming the TDD and in November against imposing the new tax and property assessment.

• Most intriguingly to me, this could be a huge opportunity for two other parts of Kansas City to get access to the redevelopment bandwagon.

The new streetcar corridors planned along Linwood Boulevard from Main to Prospect (of 1.8 miles) , and along Independence Avenue from the City Market to Benton Boulevard (of 2.2 miles), could make East Side and Northeast side neighborhoods even “cooler” than they are now.

Put simply, young professional people may be more likely to live in the Northeast area in the future.

Businesses may be more likely to locate along Linwood Boulevard.

And Brookside?

Well, residents will get to keep their Trolley Track Trail as it is. But they will miss out — at least in the next stage — on being part of any improvements that the streetcars could bring to their neighborhoods.

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